Limb Loss Below the Elbow

About 70 percent of the upper limb amputations in the United States occur below the elbow.1-3 These amputations are usually as a result of trauma, cancer, vascular disease, or infection. Some of the most common below-elbow procedures include transradial amputations (between the wrist and elbow), wrist disarticulations (through the wrist joint), and transcarpal amputations (through the hand–sometimes called partial hand amputations).

Where an amputation is performed depends on a variety of factors unique to the individual, and your surgeon will analyze your situation and determine the most clinically appropriate level of amputation. If you are facing amputation, or have previously experienced below-elbow amputation, know that you are not alone. Be patient with yourself and reach out for support when you need it.

Finding a Prosthetist and Choosing a Prosthesis

The goal of prosthetic rehabilitation is to return function and increase independence while ultimately improving your quality of life. Our upper limb specialists are experienced in building and customizing prostheses for all levels of upper limb limb loss and limb difference.

Your prosthetist will work with you and your care team to decide on the best prosthetic options for you, reviewing your work environment, your general health, and your unique goals.

Prosthetic hands and hooks are available in a range of materials and utilizing a variety of technologies, and your prosthetist will keep your goals in mind while selecting the components that will best meet your needs.

Learn More About Prosthetic Hands & Hooks >

  1. Dillingham TR, Pezzin LE, MacKenzie EJ. Limb amputation and limb deficiency: epidemiology and recent trends in the United States. South Med J. 2002;95(8):875–83. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. Ziegler-Graham K, MacKenzie EJ, Ephraim PL, Travison TG, Brookmeyer R. Estimating the prevalence of limb loss in the United States: 2005 to 2050. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008;89(3):422–9. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  3. Esquenazie A. Upper limb amputation, rehabilitation, & prosthetic restoration. In: Maitin IB, Cruz E, editors. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Chapter 27) New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2014. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com.proxy2.cl.msu.edu/content.aspx?bookid=1180&sectionid=70380726. Accessed September 18, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  4. Fahrenkopf, Matthew P et al. “Hand Amputations.” Eplasty vol. 18 ic21. 28 Sep. 2018.

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